I am currently on my fifth round of Whole30, and I just had these General Tso's Chicken Wings for lunch. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm on what most people consider a "diet," and I just had wings for lunch. That's the beauty of this program. With a little ingredient tweaking, foods that are deemed junk food within the standard American diet can be revamped into foods that are delicious, nutritious and Whole30 compliant! If you serve these wings at your next get together, I can assure you -your guests will have no idea that they're eating Whole30 food!
What makes these wings similar to Chinese General Tso's Chicken?
So these wings are lightly breaded. I'm usually not a fan of breaded chicken wings (thanks for that, Hooters), but I breaded these ones because I wanted to create a flavor profile reminiscent of General Tso' Chicken. A good General Tso's chicken is lightly breaded on the outside, juicy on the inside and drenched in a sweet and spicy sauce. The sauce needs a little something to absorb into, so I knew these wings needed to be breaded. The breading also adds crunch to every bite and makes them super filling. Honestly, the only reason I used coconut flour as the base for the breading was because it was the only Paleo flour I had on hand. Lucky for me, it worked! It's very light and it browns well in a hot oven.
Can I use an alternative flour for breading?
While I haven't tested this recipe with anything but coconut flour, my amateur chef intuition is telling me that an alternative Paleo-friendly flour will work just fine. Finely ground almond flour or cassava flour are great options! If you're not following a grain-free or gluten-free diet, you're more than welcome to use traditional baking flour. If you use an alternative flour, I would love to hear how the wings turned out!
How are these wings cooked?
These wings are baked at 500 degrees. I know 500 degrees may seem high, but when it comes to making crispy wings, the hotter the oven the better! If by chance your oven doesn't heat to 500 degrees, set it as high as it will go and leave them in for at least 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them. Once the breading is golden brown and crispy, they're done.
What's in General Tso's sauce?
For the sauce, I pulled out every ingredient from my fridge and pantry that reminded me of General Tso's Chicken. Truthfully, I have no idea what ingredients are actually in General Tso's sauce. I winged it (get it?) and voila. With a little trial and error, I got the flavors just right! The sauce is a little sweet and a lotta spicy. Goodness gracious, it's good!
So about the peculiar sauce ingredients (see full list of ingredients below): I live in Montgomery County, Maryland where there happens to be an excess of Asian grocery stores (at least five within a ten mile radius of my condo). Finding some of the obscure ingredients (i.e. Whole30 compliant fish sauce and chili paste) is pretty easy for me, but you can find these ingredients at most conventional grocery stores. You might just have to do a bit of digging and label reading. For instance, Red Boat Fish Sauce is Whole30 compliant and can be found in most grocery stores these days. When in doubt, just order it from Amazon! 🙂
These wings are best served fresh out of the oven while they're still crisp and juicy and then sprinkled with fresh chives. I didn't have any leftovers when I made them, so I can't tell you if they reheat well. My assumption would be no. Wings are very much like french fries in that they're never as good the second time around.
Check out the full recipe below! I really, really, really hope y'all give these wings a shot. You're going to LOVE them! Don't forget to tag me in your recipe recreation photos (#paleoishkristaeats)! I've said it before and I'll probably say it again and again - SEEING YOUR RECIPE RECREATIONS MAKES ME THE HAPPIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD! Like, no joke.
PIN NOW! MAKE LATER!
Whole30 General Tso's Chicken Wings
- 2 pounds chicken wings flats and drumsticks separated
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the breading
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon pepper
For the sauce
- ¼ cup coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce if not Paleo/Whole30
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup chives minced
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- While the oven is preheating, add all breading ingredients to a large bowl (stir well to combine).
- In a separate large bowl, toss the chicken wings in extra virgin olive oil.
- Individually toss each wing in the breading mixture until lightly breaded. Place wings in an even layer onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake in 500 degree preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- While the wings bake, prepare the sauce. Add all sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and heat through until smooth (stirring occasionally). 3 - 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low to keep the sauce warm until ready to use.
- Once the wings are cooked through and crispy, place them in a large bowl, pour the sauce into the bowl and gently toss until evenly coated.
- Garnish with fresh chives and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- The coconut flour can be swapped out for any finely ground Paleo-friendly flour. Almond flour or cassava flour are great options.